Do patients need hospice care or palliative care? At the end stage of life, you will only look for medical care for your loved ones that bring them comfort and happiness. Take cancer for example, the 2nd leading cause of death in the United States. Hospice or palliative care are the two most common forms of medical care that doctors recommend when patients cope with it at the last stage. The care is provided to patients with similar illnesses such as cancer for their pain and symptoms, and their emotional and spiritual support at the end-stage. Hospice is similar to palliative care, but there are some important differences that you may not be aware of.

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care is a type of healthcare that focuses on people who are experiencing life-limiting illnesses. In short, hospice care provides care to the terminally ill. The goal of hospice care is to deliver comfort in the last phases of their life, Confusing sentence Hospice care eliminates pain as much as possible, rather than treating the disease itself. Hospice care is also family-centered. With hospice care, patients spend their last days with their loved ones.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a specific type of medical care for patients who are fighting serious illness. This primary objective of palliative care is to provide relief from the stress, symptoms, and the illness. Palliative care ultimately provides improved quality of life to patients and their families. It is provided by a highly specialized team of doctors, specialists, and nurses. The medical care is based on the patients’ requirements and not on the patients’ prognosis. Palliative care is appropriate at any age (even for infants) and at any stage in a complex illnes.

What Kind of Patients Choose Palliative Care or Hospice Care?

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, patients who should receive palliative care are characterized as follows.

  • Patients who have received curative treatment but are not benefitting from it.
  • Patients who are not able to care for themselves and expected to live less than 6 months.
  • Patients who do not qualify for an appropriate clinical trial.

Key Difference Between Hospice Care And Palliative Care

What Does Hospice Care or Palliative Care Provide?

Hospice care provides the following medical services.

  • Symptom relief
  • Helps to make important end-stage life decisions
  • Emotional and spiritual support for the patients and their family members.
  • Assistance with coordinating care.

Palliative care provides the following medical services.

  • Symptom relief
  • Helps to make important medical decisions
  • Emotional and spiritual support for the patients and their family members.
  • Assistance with coordinating care.

What Is The Eligibility?

Hospice care is typically advised by more than one physician. After reviewing the patient’s conditions, signs, and symptoms, if they come to the conclusion that the patient may not live more than 6 months, they advise the patient’s family members to receive hospice care.

Palliative care is advised by physicians at any time, at any stage of illness. The condition of the illness may or may not be terminal.

Who Is Involved?

Hospice Care:

  • More than one doctor.
  • Nurse(s) specialized in hospice care.

Palliative Care:

  • A doctor.
  • Nurse(s) specialized in palliative care.
  • Other healthcare professionals such as your primary doctor, caregiver, pharmacists.

Where Do Patients Receive Hospice Care or Palliative Care?

Hospice care is received at home, nursing homes, veterans’ facilities, assisted living facilities, hospitals, and other facilities. Palliative care generally is delivered in a hospital.

Can A Patient Continue to Receive Treatments To Cure Illness?

If a patient chooses to continue hospice care, it will help only with symptom relief. It is provided knowing that the patient may not be able to live more than 6 months.

Palliative care does not mean death. A patient can choose longer palliative care if he or she wishes. However, palliative care does serve many patients with terminal illnesses or life-threatening illnesses.